Volume 93, Issue 88
Thursday, March 16, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Kiss, Crue alumni marry to form new rock Union
ęGazette file photo
UNION'S HARD-EDGED SOUND WAS DIMINISHED WHEN THE BACKSTREET BOYS' A.J. McLEAN JOINED THE GROUP. Union, a grouping of rockers excommunicated from other bands, find success on their own in The Blue Room.
By David Perri
Think back to 1992, a year when Motley Crče was still a relevant force in music. Lead singer Vince Neil gets fired and scandals erupt. Thankfully for the readers of Metal Edge, Neil was soon replaced and the Crče was poised to continue with new vocalist John Corabi.
Now think way back to the early 1980s when KISS realized the makeup gimmick wasn't working anymore and decided to show their faces to the world. Original guitarist Ace Frehely had long since left the band and KISS, upon kicking out the self-destructive Vinnie Vincent, filled the empty guitar slot with noted axe-slinger Bruce Kulick.
Fastforward to 1996, Corabi is kicked out of Motley Crče as a result of the band's reunion with Neil. The same year, Kulick is ousted from KISS while the band reunited with Frehely and Peter Criss. Notice a trend here?
Realizing they were both out of work, Corabi and Kulick were introduced by a somewhat remorseful Motley Crče bass player, Nikki Sixx. And the rest, as they say, is history or at least history in progress.
"To be honest. I wasn't even sure that I wanted to be in a band again," Corabi remarks. "I told Bruce we should get together to write. If we thought the material was cool, the plan was to deal with the band concept then." Evidently, the Corabi/Kulick sessions proved to be fruitful, as the band Union emerged from the effort.
Union is exactly what the moniker indicates a culmination of diverse talent. From Corabi's raspy, seasoned vocals and guitar melodies, to Kulick's precise and accurate rhythm and solo playing, Union is a talented group of musicians desperately in search of a fan base. This frustration is heavily featured on their latest album, The Blue Room.
With a prevailing theme of individuality, as shown on the first single "Do Your Own Thing" and the tracks "Who Do You Think You Are" and "I Wanna Be," the album is a showcase for classic and timeless sounding rock 'n' roll. The guitars are loud and the sound is slickly produced.
"At first, I wrote a few of the songs and Bruce put together a few on his own. But for this record, it was really whatever worked. We really worked together on this one," Corabi notes. Stellar in its combination of catchy aggression ("Hypnotized") and atmosphere ("Dear Friend"), The Blue Room is a multi-faceted album reaffirming quality musicianship and a sense of tonal optimism.
Even Corabi is quick to state the obvious Union is not going to be given a push by media giants or popular radio rotation anytime soon. The musician is quite passionate about the matter and rightly so. "It all starts with the record companies, but then you have MTV dictating to the kids what the new flavour of the month is it's unfortunate. Fans can't get the type of insight into bands that they had during the 1970s anymore. Fifteen minutes of fame has now become five," he laments. "With the MTV generation, people just don't have individuality anymore. People were given a brain and they were given things like an opinion and creativity for a reason. They shouldn't be sheep."
And as for the 1980s music scene that spawned Corabi and Kulick's careers? "The scene never went away. It was dictated to the population that those bands would no longer receive support. However, when you realize Poison, L.A. Guns and Ratt played to 18,000 people a night last summer, there is still a market for that type of music."
When considering how he would market The Blue Room, Corabi gives a subdued response. "I know not everyone will like everything on this album. But, if they give it a shot, I guarantee they'll enjoy at least one aspect of it."
Copyright ę The Gazette 2000